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Ryons, King of Outre Ombre
Arthurian Literary Character

This eccentric monarch of Outre Ombre - apparently in North Wales - appears to have had close Saxon ties, including some relatives. He was in the habit of trimming his cloak with the beards of the kings he had defeated in conquered. Ryons was antagonistic towards Arthur during the Rebellion of the Eleven Kings, but he was occupied with an invasion of Cameliard - besieging Carohaise and fighting at Aneblayse - and did not actively take part himself. Not long after the Battle of Bedegraine, Ryons had the arrogance to send the young King Arthur a message declaring that his cloak had displayed the facial hair of eleven subordinate monarchs and he demanded Arthur's to make it an even dozen. Joking with his men that he was too young to be able to provide Ryons with much of a beard, King Arthur took a great army to conquer Outre Ombre instead and their two armies clashed at the Battle of Mount Aravius (Snowdon). Ryons was thoroughly defeated, but fell back on his old rebellious allies and laid siege to Arthur's forces at Castle Teribel. Within the fortress, however, Merlin plotted the beard collector's downfall. He instructed Sirs Balin and Balan to ambush Ryons when he slipped away from the castle with only a small band of men to a romantic rendezvous with Lady de Vance. This the two knights did, knocking Ryons to the ground and slaying over forty of his men. The King of Outre Ombre was thus bound and gagged and delivered to King Arthur. He appears to have been put on trial by combat where he was killed by Arthur. With King Ryons dead, his brother, Sir Nero, continued the war but Merlin devised a ruse to delay King Lot of Orkney's reinforcements and the rebellion was crushed.

This character is based on the legendary Welsh Giant, Rhita Gawr. He may have been an historical warleader of exceptional height from North Wales. He appears to have tried to claim the Kingdom of Gwynedd and conquered or raided a number of adjoining regions, including Gwent & Ergyng. Outre Ombre probably represents 'Outer Cambria'. 

 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.